Monday, January 19, 2004
In Genesis 2 and 3 we find God not only creating the world, we find Him actively interacting with his creation. He dwelt among it. Especially He interacted with Adam and Eve. Both of which God created with His own hands. He spoke with them, and carried out conversations. After man's fall, God instituted a plan 'ordained from the foundation of the world' to save man from Sin and reestore Man to his original state: Sinless, perfect, and incorruptible. Such is the case in Exodus 25:8:
Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
God wants to dwell among us and interact with us and ouor affairs. As you may read in this next passage, the world may not think this:
Dan 2:1 And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.
Dan 2:2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
Dan 2:3 And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.
Dan 2:4 Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.
Dan 2:5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.
Dan 2:6 But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.
Dan 2:7 They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it.
Dan 2:8 The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.
Dan 2:9 But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof.
Dan 2:10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.
Dan 2:11 And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.
While it is true that only God can interpret dreams, it through Human instruments that He does this. Also, Our God does not dwell far from us. Indeed, He wants to be so close, He came as one of us. Matthew says of this,
Mat 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Joh 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Joh 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
This Emmanuel, was the Word, Who was with God, was God, and has always been God. He not only is the Creator of all things, but He gives them life, for He himself is life. This Emmanuel is Light that shines upon the darkess of this world. But, those in darkness prefer to remain ignorant on this awesome misteries. This Emmanuel, God, took our flesh, became one of us, and dwelt among us. While He took our corrupt, imperfect, mortal, and sinful Nature He sinned not. He was full of grace and truth. Ellen White says:
Christ alone was able to represent the Deity. He who had been in the presence of the Father from the beginning, He who was the express image of the invisible God, was alone sufficient to accomplish this work. No verbal description could reveal God to the world. Through a life of purity, a life of perfect trust and submission to the will of God, a life of humiliation such as even the highest seraph in heaven would have shrunk from, God Himself must be revealed to humanity. In order to do this, our Saviour clothed His divinity with humanity. He employed the human faculties, for only by adopting these could He be comprehended by humanity. Only humanity could reach humanity. He lived out the character of God through the human body which God had prepared for Him. He blessed the world by living out in human flesh the life of God, thus showing that He had the power to unite humanity to divinity (RH June 25, 1895)
In the Hebrew language the verb shachan ("to dwell") and shekinah come from the same root. It was the Word in the flesh, Emmanuel, that dwelt among us. It was He, Jesus, that took our nature to us show that God's grace and truth - His Glory - could conquer Sin. It was Jesus, the Light, that showed us that when His Light, the Holy Spirit, dwells in us we too can be full of grace and truth. We too can reflect God's glory, which as God told Moses in Exodus 33:19, His Glory is His Goodness or His character.
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Monday, January 12, 2004
This weeks lesson introduces us to the Gospel of John. It gives us the facts by answering the What, Where, Who, Why, When, and how. (Not in that order.)
What: The Gospels are a written account of the life of Jesus on this earth. That is what Luke says:
Luk 1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
Luk 1:2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
Luk 1:3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
Luk 1:4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
The author believes the other accounts were oral. The Holy Spirit inspired the Gospel author's to write in order to save the integrity of the account throughout the generations.
When: The gospels were written many years after Jesus ascension to heaven. It seems that the author's realized that Christ was not returning in their lifetime. So they wrote for future generations.
Where: They wrote where they lived in ancient Israel.
Who and How: The Author's were Christian's. Two of the Gospel writers were former apostles - they wrote what they saw and experience for themselves. Two others were converted through Paul - they wrote what they heard.
Why: Luke says in Luke 1:4 that
Luk 1:4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
In other words, what you here is not a "cunningly devised fable."
John for his part says:
John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
John takes it a step further than Luke. He wants us to believe that Jesus is: the Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God (who Hmself is God), and the Lamb of God who taketh away the Sin of the world. John wants us to have faith. Paul says that:
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
When we read the word of God and believe it we find life, eternal life. This type of believing is called Faith. Which in the book of Hebrews is defined as:
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
It is Faith in this man called Jesus that takes away our Sin. It is faith in this man called Jesus that gives us eternal life. It is Faith that allows the Comforter (Holy Spirit) that Jesus promised, to work in us this salvation. When we have a part with the Holy Spirit, when we have a relationship with this powerful, yet not seen Being, we do not be to be there to see Jesus and touch Him. The Holy Spirit brings power to the Word Of God. When we become the Holy Spirit's friend, we become Jesus' friend. Now, it is the work of the Holy Spirit in us that enables us to live eternally. However, the promise does not end there. We will live eternally with our Christ, the Lamb that took away our Sin. Let's read in John:
Joh 14:1-4 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
That same Jesus that died for us is preparing a place for us where He is. He will return to take us back with Him. And, we will live eternally with Him.
And as John wrote in Revelation:
Rev 21:1-4 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
We will live there with no more sin and its consequences, namely: Tears, death, sorrow, crying, and pain. This is the good news John wanted us to know and believe.
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